Entertainment | Theatre | Shedd Aquarium |

Fantasea

John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago | 2009

The Re-imagined Oceanarium, at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, includes ‘Fantasea’, an all-new marine life aquatic show.

What It Was

The Re-imagined Oceanarium, at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, includes ‘Fantasea’, an all-new marine life aquatic show. The aquarium’s vision was to create a groundbreaking spectacle unlike any other aquatic show anywhere in the World. The immersive experience would take the audience on a journey of discovery, giving a greater understanding of the natural wonder of the sea. The lighting design for the show had to overcome the challenges of intense daylight, the reflective water and glass surfaces, and a humid, corrosive salt-water environment. Many fixtures had to be installed over the tank while it was filled with water and home to animals. In a very limited time, the show was created and installed, then changed as the animals were acclimated and trained, all without ever compromising the animals’ quality of life and safety.

What We Did

Lightswitch collaborated closely with the Aquarium’s animal trainers while creating the show and the animal acclimation process. The trainers provided ongoing feedback as to how marine mammals see light in water and how it influences their perception of space. The show employs a degree of theatrical production far beyond a traditional white light “dolphin show”. Pattern, shape and texture combine to increase the depth of experience for the guest. Lightswitch helped support a fantastic journey from a child’s wonder, to the dramatic soaring of a red tailed hawk through a beam of light in the darkened space, to the surprising and fun entrance of penguins, waddling through polka dot spots of light between audience members.

Why It Worked

Fantasea breaks ground from concept to completion. Using theatrical lighting in a show that involves marine life has created a fascinating and rewarding experience for the audience. "Thrilling moments, truly eye-popping production values, and, overall, a remarkable achievement for the Shedd." -Chicago Tribune